Welcome to my first post of 2021, where I’m still working from home 3/5 days per week, and still living my best pandemic life! The holidays are behind us, even though I still have my wreath up and my poinsettias around the house. What can I say, I think January is allowed to be a little festive too! At this point, we’ve eaten most of our holiday leftovers and finished up our delightfully high-calorie holiday meals and are slowly transitioning back into a lifestyle of healthy-ish eating and occasional exercise. This recipe was born out of the need to use up the remaining bacon from my deluxe holiday breakfasts, and the random chunk of goat cheese left over from one of my many cheese boards. It marries these heavier additions with some Asian pear, fluffy salad greens, and the easiest vinaigrette (literally just balsamic vinegar, honey, and nice olive oil) to help you start easing back into the concept of salads and eating green things.
Just like my recipe for my Hatch Chili Pepper Power Salad that features crispy chicken tenders as a topper, this salad is the perfect blend of healthy and hearty to help slowly start up the new year. I know that 2020 was rough at best and I’m mentally prepared for the start of 2021 to be just the same, so I’m not here to shock my system into clean eating on Jan. 1. Bacon on salads is a delight, and it’s exactly what you need to start being kind to your body (in the form of salads), while still meeting its emotional needs to be comforted (in the form of bacon).
This recipe makes enough for 2 big portions of salad, which to me is a perfect lunch to share with your quarantine buddy (or just yourself!). Feel free to double this recipe for a family of 4, or half it for one big serving. Use your favorite swaps if goat cheese isn’t your favorite (feta would be great here!), or if you’re not a fan of traditional bacon (turkey bacon will do, as will your favorite vegan bacon alternative). Any leafy greens will work (baby spinach, any lettuce, arugula – it’ll all be great!), and the Asian pear can be swapped with an apple or a pear.
Recipe down below, along with photos! Happy New Year, friends!
Leafy Green Salad with Asian Pear, Bacon, and Goat Cheese:
- 1 head of leafy lettuce (such as romaine or butter lettuce)
- Sub with 2-3 cups of lettuce mix or chopped lettuce
- 1 Asian pear, cored and cubed
- 3 pieces of thick cut bacon, cooked until crispy
- ¼ cup of goat cheese
- 1 tsp honey
- 1 tsp balsamic vinegar
- 2 tsp Extra Virgin olive oil
- 1 pinch flakey (Maldon) salt
- In a large skillet or saute pan, cook the bacon until the fat is fully rendered and the bacon is crispy. Once the bacon has been fully cooked, remove it from the pan and drain excess fat on a paper towel. Allow to cool before chopping into ½ inch long pieces, cross-wise. Set aside.
- Fully rinse and dry lettuce using a salad spinner. Tear or chop lettuce into large bite-sized pieces (about 2 inches in size). Add lettuce to a large bowl.
- Chop the Asian pear in half (lengthwise, through the stem end) and in half again (lengthwise, through the stem end). Use a knife or melon baller to remove the core and the stem, discard. Chop each quarter in half again (lengthwise), then across into 1-inch cubes. Add the chopped Asian pear into the bowl with the lettuce.
- Crumble goat cheese and add the cooked, chopped bacon into the bowl with the lettuce. Add the honey, balsamic vinegar, olive oil, and Maldon salt, and toss to thoroughly combine.
- Divide up onto two large plates and enjoy!